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Hokies Have Struggled After Bye Weeks
by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, TSLMail #456, October 29, 2010

Virginia Tech will be facing Georgia Tech's difficult option offense next Thursday night. The Hokies will be coming off a bye week, and conventional wisdom says that will help them because they will have had more time to prepare. However, that hasn't been the case in recent years.

The Hokies have lost four of their last five games coming off a bye week. Their only win in that span came at home against Maryland in 2008, with a 23-13 victory.

In 2006, Tech was defeated by Boston College 22-3 coming off a bye. In 2007, BC knocked them off yet again 14-10 in Blacksburg, and the Eagles beat Tech yet again in 2008. In 2009, the Hokies lost to North Carolina 20-17 in Lane Stadium.

What was the common trend in those losses? They were all Thursday night games coming off a bye week, and the Hokies failed miserably offensively in each one.

Recent Losses off a Bye
Year Opp. Points Yards
2006 BC 3 181
2007 BC 10 265
2008 BC 23 240
2009 UNC 17 256
Average 13.25 235.5


In all four of those losses, the offense struggled mightily. The offensive touchdown against BC in 2007 wasn't really a touchdown (bad call by the refs, Royal clearly didn't have possession inbounds), the defense scored both touchdowns in the 2008 game, and one of the touchdowns against UNC was a five yard drive set up by a Rashad Carmichael interceptions.

That makes one real offensive touchdown in four of the last five games coming off a bye week. That was an 82 yard drive against UNC last year. Despite having extra time to prepare, the offense hasn't been able to get it done against good defenses coming off a bye. BC's 2006 defense ranked 34th in total defense, the 2007 group was 19th, they were 5th in 2008, and UNC ranked 6th last season. Each of those defenses completely shut down the Tech offense.

In Tech's one win following a bye since 2005, the Hokies knocked off Maryland 23-13 at home on a Thursday night in 2008. Darren Evans rushed for a Tech record 253 yards against the Terps, but the Maryland defense ranked 63rd overall and just 71st against the run.

The Georgia Tech defense the Hokies will be facing on Thursday night is closer to the Maryland defense than the BC and UNC stop units. The Yellow Jackets have struggled this year, particularly against the run.

Georgia Tech Against the Run
Opp. Yards YPC
SC State 178 4.6
Kansas 141 3.4
UNC 143 4.5
NC State 159 4
Wake Forest 161 3.7
Virginia 137 4.9
MTSU 143 3.7
Clemson 236 6.2
Average 162.25 4.3


Georgia Tech wasn't completely thrashed in the running game until they faced Clemson, but then again they didn't face any really good running teams until they played the Tigers. Against the Hokies, they'll face what has been a three-headed monster in Darren Evans, David Wilson and Tyrod Taylor. Those three players have combined 229 carries for 1,397 yards and 15 touchdowns. That's exactly 6.1 yards per carry.

Virginia Tech will also have Ryan Williams back for the Yellow Jackets. He ran for 100 yards against Georgia Tech last year, despite playing with the flu. He also caught a touchdown pass in that game.

So far this season, Georgia Tech ranks 53rd in total defense and 76th in rushing defense. The Hokies will certainly have a chance to move the football this week and continue their winning streak.



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